It was work that bought Rachael and Gareth together, and the two of them clicked while both out for Christmas drinks with colleagues on 23rd December, 2009, and have been inseparable ever since. “We didn't have an official first date but we arranged to meet up again with our friends in Cardiff on Boxing Day night, and we ended up seeing each other more or less every day after that,” recalls Rachael.
“We had a very natural connection and fell for each other straightaway. We were head over heels and, by the February, had moved in together.”
In August 2014, on Rachael's 30th birthday, while the pair were at home, Gareth gave her a card. Dressed in a suit, with Bruno Mars' Just The Way You Are playing in the background, Rachael opened the card that had the words 'To my fiancé' on the front, and Gareth was down on one knee asking her to marry him. “It was very emotional and a complete surprise,” recalls Rachael. “Our two-and-a-half year old daughter Maddison was stood with him during the proposal.”
With clear ideas of how they wanted their big day, the pair started planning their nuptials quite quickly, with the focus being on the marriage itself followed by a big party.
Here, Rachael shares more...
We both knew that we'd be emotional when we got married, as it meant so much to us, so we choose Castell Coch as it created an intimate setting to say our vows in front of only 24 loved ones, and it has lovely grounds
As Gareth's a solicitor, he wears a suit every day, so he wanted something different for our wedding. He looked gorgeous in a check suit, horseshoe waistcoat and patterned Ted Baker shirt with brogues, a pocket watch and tie pin, which fitted with our vintage theme.
I tried on countless dresses before discovering you could customise your own at Bridgend's Pink Butterfly Bridal boutique. They allowed me to create my dream champagne-coloured ball gown wedding dress, made just for me.
Gareth has a very close group of friends, so he chose his two oldest pals Jeremy and James as his best men. All the other guys wore matching handmade vintage buttonholes to still feel involved.
Our reception venue was very us as it's relaxed, rustic and has stunning secluded surroundings. We didn't have a formal sit-down wedding breakfast or speeches; we got married at 3.30pm and had a drinks reception at The Countryman Inn, before evening guests arrived to start the party, where we served a hot evening buffet.
“We both knew that we'd be emotional when we got married as it meant so much to us.” – Rachael
My twin sister Rebecca was my bridesmaid and she looked stunning in a nude vintage-style, floor-length strapless dress from Coast. We both carried glamorous handmade crystal bouquets made by Pink Butterfly Brides.
Candles, lace-covered jars and lanterns decorated our venue.
Our cake was red velvet – our favourite!
My father sings in the Côr Meibion Choir, Abercynon, so he arranged for them to sing for us at Castell Coch as a surprise. This was very emotional; when I entered the courtyard they were singing You Are So Beautiful.
I wore a birdcage veil with a handmade fascinator
Our band Jammy and The Dodgers kept the dancefloor full all night.
We wanted a photographer that took alternative, natural shots. Andrew was great; he fitted in really well with our friends and family and was a great guy to have around as part of our day.
Jammy and The Dodgers
Bride's and bridesmaid's nails
Miskin Manor Spa
Bride's dress and crystal bouquets
Pink Butterfly Brides
Lasco Hair Centre
Tel: 01443 478 888
CÔr Meibion Choir
Groom's pre-wedding preparations
Bryn Meadows Hotel
Groom's pre-wedding preparations
Bunch of Grapes
Silver Birch Photography
The Countryman Inn
Price's Wedding Cars